I Hated My Hair.

We interviewed 5 drastically different women who shared one commonality that perhaps every woman can relate to - our tumultuous relationship with our hair and how society has shaped our views.

Richelle, Hailee, Zoey, Sarah, and Morgan's hair journeys reveal how important hair is to a woman's identity and our struggles to fit impossible celebrity standards.

Morgan, who was eventually diagnosed with alopecia totalis, first experienced hair loss in her late teens. 

"It was middle of junior year and that's when I realized I had a bald spot on the back of my head. I actually didn't see it, I was blow drying my hair and my mom was sitting in my room. And she screamed at me and said, 'oh my gosh, Morgan!' I was like, 'what!' 'You have a bald spot!'
She took a picture and of course, my first reaction is, what is that...did I burn my hair off...
We went to different doctors and they said it was a form of alopecia.
A few months later, it started getting worse.... I thought it would eventually go away, but little did I know, I would go bald."

Hair is something we all take for granted and yet almost every woman has said at some point in her life, "I hate my hair."

As we dive deep into why that is, each woman realized she was impacted by society's standards of what "good hair should look like."

Richelle, a Black woman growing up in a predominantly White neighborhood and school, realized her hair was a source of attention:

"My hair was very different from everybody else's - it's textured. I remember hating my hair because it was a source of attention and everybody would touch my hair.
I used to beg my mom to get a relaxer and chemically straighten it, just so that I could be 'normal.'"

Sarah, who grew up watching Korean dramas, recounted all the beautiful celebrities she saw on TV:

"I looked at all of their hair - you know, it was all straight, silky, long and black and so thick. You realize you're looking at hair that's 100% perfect."

These impossible standards tell us that our own hair, in all of its different textures, styles, thickness, and curls, are not good enough on their own.

The tumultuous journey impacts our identities, sense of self worth, and femininity.

Zoey, who struggled most of her life to tame her curly hair, realized she didn't necessarily need to fit into these standards through her journey of self discovery with her sexuality. 

"When I started realizing I liked women, it completely changes your identity of how you present yourself. So my senior year, when I finally could go to prom and be out there, that's when I cut my hair."

Hailee also wanted her hair to reflect her changing identity. 

"People tell you that you're pretty and valuable because of your hair. And no, I'm so much more than that. I told my roommate, you know what, today's the day...and we cut [my hair] all off."

Hating her hair, losing her hair, changing her hair - these are experiences that many women can relate with as we struggle to feel like we fit in and feel beautiful.

But this journey can also lead us to evolve, become stronger, and grow beyond popular culture and celebrities' depictions of "perfect hair."

"Good hair is perceived as long or straight or has a looser curl pattern, but over time I just realized good hair simply means your hair is healthy and you're taking care of it the best way you know how."  - Richelle

"I went from I can't tell anybody because they'll judge me...to oh my god, this is the best thing that's happened to me.

You got through a journey of being this person that you want to be so badly. But just be who you are. I now love when people come up to me and say, 'omg I love your hair' and I tell them, 'Thanks! It's a wig!'" - Morgan

 

Each woman we interviewed recounted that their hair journey - whether it be alopecia and hair loss, chemical hair damage from hair dye or relaxers, trying to tame curly hair - helped them realize that they could love their hair despite it not being what others' said it should be.

This path to self acceptance and self love enabled them to want to share their experience with others in the hopes that it can help other women find peace with their hair.

"I'm going to come to this experience different. I'm going to see who I am with different hair and I'm going to love her regardless what my [previous] image of her was.

I hear people lean on my appearance as a woman. I think I'm a masculine woman. Like I don't think I'm a feminine woman. Femininity changed [when I shaved my hair]. I was looking at myself different. Other people probably wonder, 'is that a woman?'

And I'm ok with that. I think when we talk about femininity and masculinity, I think we have both and they key is to balance it within ourselves. I think [buzzing my hair] gave me the opportunity to express my masculinity more. Which is something I was afraid of - being a strong masculine character because I feel like in a lot of ways...that's intimidating. 

But it's not, it can be gentle. My relationship with my hair now, I care about it more." Hailee

Every hair journey is different and we all deserve to celebrate what makes us unique.

"Everyone's hair is so different, so unique. It shouldn't be what everyone else expects it to be, it should be just what you want it to be. It's hard to ignore and recognize that a lot of the pressure comes from the outside world.
Hair loss is a very manageable lifestyle. I remember in the beginning, thinking, there's no solution to this. I was so wrong. You'll be surprised at how resilient you are in the process, and it's so worth it to go through [hair loss].
Hair loss is a very transformative process. As you shed your own hair, I feel like you shed a lot of other things you thought were important in life. You will have a bigger perspective on life and you will be kinder to yourself and that will start the process of loving who you are." - Sarah

Curly, straight, thin, bald, and buzzed hair are ALL beautiful hair!

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Watch their full individual interviews on our Instagram: @silkorlace

Watch more on our Tiktok: @silkorlace

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Continue the conversation with us on Clubhouse on April 1 (more info on our IG!)

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Visit our instagrams (public profiles only):

@zoey_silkorlace

@plantifulhair

@haileemdyer

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